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Kärjenaho, Elias Peltoperä, Olaf Westerberg and John Wiinikka started their way on foot through the Big Woods toward Cokato. For the first few miles they were able to follow a road, but soon that was no more than a path which wound itself along lakeshores and across streams. The first evening these men, accustomed to covering long distances on foot, reached the shore of a big lake, probably Howard Lake. Exhausted by their long trek through the woods - they had covered some 50 miles - Wiinikka, who was 57 years old, was unable to go on. While the others stopped to build a fire and lay down to rest, Kärjenaho went ahead alone and reached the Mooer post office that same evening. So it was that Kärjenaho, walking a bit farther than his companions, became Cokato's first Finn. When the others got there the next morning, Kärjenaho and Westerberg went out to find one John Rustad, whom they had been told to look up when they enquired at the post office as a man who could advise them in their search for suitable land. Rustad was too busy gathering honey to go along to help the Finns, but he told them what direction they should take.

Each of the four men chose an 80-acre homestead in section 10 of Mooers Prairie (now Cokato), a short distance to the northwest of Cokato Lake. During the first two years that they were there, they were joined by other Finns: Isak Hara, who took land in section 10, and Adam Ongamo, Isak Parbo (Barba, Parpa), Nils Selvälä and Antti Sepponen, who moved into section 18. Apparently there was also one Isak Branström in section 18, but he returned to Finland in 1867. Thus two separate Finnish settlements were established, and a road was later built to connect the two villages.

During the first winters the men held jobs which took them away from home, but in the spring they were always back to work on their farms. Now that these lands were provisionally theirs, they began the work of settling on them by first building temporary living quarters on Kärjenaho's homestead, on the shore of a small pond. After that they built a log cabin for Peltoperä, and finally cabins for Westerberg and Wiinikka, who both had families with them. Peltoperä's cabin was located on the edge of a big meadow, in the center of his property, and was the first real building put up by the Finns in section 10. (In section 18, the first home was Parbo's cabin, built in 1868.)

Actually, however, Peltoperä did not stay on his land for long, though long enough to clear some forest, plow, plant potatoes, only then to discover he had gone beyond his own boundary


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